Job hunting and dating have at least one thing in common. You may find that a lack of experience can become an obstacle in your path.
While employment ads are usually pretty specific about what kind of experience is required, expectations in the dating world tend to be more subtle, but just as significant. You may feel uncertain about what to do, and potential partners may have concerns about whether you’re ready for a relationship.
Still, each of us has to start somewhere, and this is a challenge you can overcome with a little effort and practice.
Take a look at these ideas for meeting other singles and developing a romantic relationship, even if it’s unfamiliar territory for you.
- Ask your friends. Let your friends know that you’re interested in dating. They may have insights into the kind of partner you’d be compatible with. They may also have someone in mind who they’ve been waiting to introduce you to.
- Browse online. Internet dating multiplies your possibilities. Create profiles on a few sites and respond to other’s listings. Be sure to meet in a public setting if you decide to talk face to face.
- Make small talk. Speaking of talking, brushing up on your conversation skills will make you more approachable. You can practice on sales clerks and waiters while you’re starting out.
- Extend your network. Dating in the workplace can be complicated, but it may be an option if that’s where you spend most of your time. Volunteer at the local chapter of your professional association and attend their monthly lunches.
- Pursue your interests. You can meet other singles while you go about your regular activities like playing golf or shopping for home improvement projects. Plus, you’ll already have at least one subject to talk about.
- Boost your confidence. If you have any doubts about your dating abilities, remember what you’ve accomplished in other areas of your life. If you can run a marathon or handle a demanding job, you can probably learn to connect with others.
- Share your feelings. Being known and understood is one of the most valuable benefits of a close relationship. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and talk about your inner life.
- Listen closely. Give your partner the same opportunity. Pay attention to what they have to say. Let them know that their opinions matter to you.
- Resolve conflicts. You’re bound to disagree sometimes, but the way you handle arguments can draw you together instead of splitting you apart. Respect each other’s boundaries and search for common ground.
- Avoid snooping. Your first relationship can feel intense, so you may be tempted to peek too closely into social media conversations and dresser drawers. Establishing trust and communicating openly is a more constructive way to learn about each other.
- Maintain your identity. Focus on staying balanced even as you spend more time together. Give each other space to hang out with your own friends and enjoy your former activities.
- Lighten up. Serious relationships can still be fun. If you make a misstep, apologize promptly and try to look at the humorous side of the situation.
- Consider counseling. It takes strength to ask for help when you need it. If you feel like you need more support than your family and friends can provide, you may want to speak with a professional. Even short-term therapy could help you address issues that may arise in your first romantic relationship.
A lack of experience doesn’t have to hold you back from finding love. Whether you’re shy or you’ve been busy with other goals, you can start now to have fun dating while you search for a partner you’ll want to share your life with.